Redefining Student Engagement Measures to Understand and Address Student Needs

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As educators gain new insights into the student experience, they develop targeted improvements for students individually and improve programs to improve outcomes for all students.  However, teachers and advisors need help.  Traditional methods of identifying student needs relied heavily on teacher observation, discipline and attendance data, and poor outcomes.  These are lagging indicators that often identify student needs too late.  Unified data and analytics can enable them to make data-informed  decisions with fast, actionable insights so they can identify student needs earlier and act faster with maximum impact. 

COVID challenged many long-held assumptions and pushed education institutions to rapidly evolve by changing how they used technology and engaged students.  For example, COVID accelerated the pace at which K-12 institutions and educators embraced Learning Management Systems (LMS)  like Canvas to enable online education and more effectively create, deliver and manage course content.  An important byproduct of LMS adoption is key data about how students engage with classes, courses, and content. If they are not engaging, they are unlikely to succeed.  

  • Key data points that provide leading indicators of students/groups in need of intervention

  • Analyzing engagement data to make data-informed decisions about program effectiveness

  • Measuring and monitoring equity of assignments across schools and student groups

Daily Participation & Other Valuable Insights from LMS Engagement Data

District staff are not only interested in traditional student attendance metrics, behavior, and classroom grades, but also in tracking daily participation. Understanding how students engage has become even more important in hybrid learning environments where daily participation is monitored based on a student’s activity and completion of classroom assignments. Schools can identify a broader net of students in need by including those with no problems with attendance and grades but who may be disengaging from their coursework. There are several key indicators to look for:

  • Completion of Assignments: What percent are on time, late, or missing? Is the trend changing over time? 

  • Percent Correct - This could indicate that content is not well understood by the student(s) or that level of effort is declining (disengagement) 

Integrating and Analyzing the Data 

With a comprehensive, multi-year analytic platform like Elevate K-12 Analytics, districts have LMS data integrated with SIS and assessments outcomes.  This enables them to go beyond basic reporting.  More advanced analytics enable educators to  view trends over time, filter, aggregate, and disaggregate data to compare and contrast schools, district subjects, staff, and student groups to see and understand a myriad of insights such as: 

  • Top/Bottom 5: Which schools and staff have the highest completion rates and points correct?  This list will help identify best practices and areas needing  improvement 

  • Equity:  Are assignments being distributed equitably across student groups such as race, gender, and ELL? 

  • Program Effectiveness:  By looking at groups of students enrolled in targeted intervention programs, can we gain a perspective on program effectiveness to engage students? 

Bringing Everything Together

Because disrupted learning inevitably affects a teacher’s ability to engage all students and meet their learning needs, measuring student engagement is more important now than ever. A Gallup study of 128 schools and more than 110,000 students found that student engagement was significantly related to student academic achievement progress (growth) in math, reading, and all subjects combined, as well as postsecondary readiness in math and writing. 

Integrating engagement metrics with other critical measures of student performance provides educators with more and better clues to the needs of students and groups so they can make timely, data-informed decisions. 

Explore a free copy of Using Actionable and Comprehensive Data to Impact Student Success to learn more about making a difference with integrated data.

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